$10m for tubes

Alliant Techsystems is performing work under an initial $10m contract to prepare for high-volume manufacturing of composite rotor tubes for USEC’s American Centrifuge program.


Alliant Techsystems (ATK) is performing work under an initial $10m contract to prepare for high-volume manufacturing of composite rotor tubes for USEC’s American Centrifuge program.



ATK expects to provide USEC, a global energy supplier and manufacturer of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants, with approximately 12,000 rotor tubes throughout the four-year production run, making this program the largest commercial composite production program in ATK’s history. When completed, ATK estimates that total revenue from the program may exceed $250m.



Each rotor tube is approximately 24 inches in diameter and about 43 feet long. The tubes will be used by USEC in a gas centrifuge process that will yield enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. ATK says the centrifuge process is more cost effective than the traditional gaseous diffusion process, using only five percent of the electricity used in the current process.



‘The strength, reduced-weight and low-cost of composite materials have a long and valued heritage in space exploration and launch vehicles, but today are equally at home in military and commercial aircraft, as well as power- generation, shipbuilding and many other industries,’ commented Jack Cronin, President, ATK Mission Systems Group.



Work on the demonstration and qualification phase of the program is being performed at ATK’s Space Systems & Sensors facility in Clearfield, Utah. Once qualified, ATK intends to move production to its manufacturing centre in Rocket Center, West Virginia. The rotor tubes will be shipped to USEC’s production facility in Piketon, Ohio, beginning in 2008.